Even the most responsible among us sometimes find ourselves almost swallowing our tongues when we receive our monthly cellphone bills. Even if data costs are lower than they have ever been, overdoing it in the multimedia department can lead to significant bill shock, come the end of the month.

And when it comes to our kids and their phones, make no mistake: this generation thrives on visual content. If your kids have a cellphone, you’ve probably had to discuss their mobile spend with them at some stage, but there are easier ways to prevent your child’s cellphone bill from being higher than yours. Here’s how.

1. Buy a cheaper device

While the bells and whistles of mobile devices are often touted as reasons for wanting the latest flagship model of their favourite mobile brand, even lower-tier devices still provide the basic elements that every child and teen expects in a phone. Even the most conscientious children sometimes lose their phones, and rather investing in a basic mobile device than some of the more expensive models available will save you a lot of money in the long run.

2. Set usage limits

Some parents prefer to set aside a specific number of hours per day for screen time, while others prefer to monitor the content their kids’ access via their mobile phone. Whichever measures pertaining to mobile use you have in place, the most important thing is to have some kind of agreement about the way your child uses their phone in place. Smartcom’s mobile contract for teenagers is a great way to cement this pledge. Setting usage limits, both in terms of the time spent on their phone, and the amount of data they use while doing so, is of vital importance to avoid exorbitant bills.

3. Turn off push notifications

Push notifications chow away at data (and battery life) in the background, and turning them off (if you haven’t done it on your own phone yet, now is the time!) can save much more data than you might think.

4. Encourage them to only access data-heavy content on Wi-Fi

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other social media and messaging apps are notorious for using large amounts of data in short spaces of time. Encourage your child to only access these platforms while they are on a secure Wi-Fi connection, like the one you might have at home.

5. Use Wi-Fi to download media for later

Many streaming services like Netflix, Showmax and various music streaming services allow for downloaded content to be accessed at a later stage, without making use of mobile data. Check the terms and conditions listed on the websites of streaming services to make sure how long this downloaded content can be accessed, and only allow your kids to access streaming content after downloading it over Wi-Fi previously.

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